We’re born into a family that keeps us around long past our infancy. Our parents and siblings recognize us as blood a long time beyond our weaning. We are nurtured by them well into our adulthood, and we can return home at any time, knowing we’re not going to be bitten.
Best of all, once we reach a certain age we can pick our family.
In the new novel “The Last Good Kiss” (c.2008, Strebor Books, $13.00 / $15.50 Canada, 191 pages) by Janice Pinnock, family means the world to Tamara Jones, whether they are related by blood or by love.
And in this case, it’s love.
At least Tamara hopes it is. Tyrone is perfect: he’s hot, smart, sweet, and attentive. He brings her flowers and makes her tingle. Ty is every woman’s dream and Tamara is over-the-moon about him. When he presents her with a gigantic diamond, she can’t say “yes” fast enough.
But that doesn’t mean life is smooth. Tamara’s mother has been sick with breast cancer, and Tamara’s sick with worry over her. Miss Dee, the woman next door (who is also Tamara’s mother’s best friend since childhood) hasn’t been doing well, either. Maybe it’s because Quincy, Miss Dee’s youngest son, is in trouble with the law.
From the time they were born just weeks apart, Quincy and Tamara were friends. They even dated for awhile in college, but at some point, they took separate paths. Tamara got a great job and is making a lot of money. Q fell into the wrong crowd and now he’s in jail for a crime he says he didn’t commit. Because of Miss Dee’s frailty, Tamara agrees to visit Quincy on a regular basis.
All this would be too much to bear if it wasn’t for her sisterfriends. Tamara has six best girlfriends she’s had since grade school, and they know all about her.
All, that is, except for what’s going on with Quincy. For some reason, Tamara feels a need to keep Q’s troubles from her girls, and she knows she needs to keep her prison visits secret from Ty. How long can she keep it all together without breaking everything apart?
I’ve had a long summerful of so-so books and a few worthwhile gems. Thankfully, “The Last Good Kiss” is one of the latter.
There’s nothing stilted about author Janice Pinnock’s style of writing, which is a breath of fresh air. The story isn’t forced; it moves gently and makes sense. Questions about details that pop into your head as you’re reading are answered in good time. There are a few quiet bedroom scenes but not anything excessive, very few “bad” words, and nothing you can’t give to grandma. Pinnock’s heroine is extremely likeable, and everyone around her is someone you’d like to meet. Simply said, this book is delightful.